The joy of steam to be celebrated at heritage event at Bressingham Steam and Gardens

The 2ft locomotive George Sholto running on Bressingham's 2ft Railway. The picture is from the late

The 2ft locomotive George Sholto running on Bressingham's 2ft Railway. The picture is from the late 1960s or early 1970s. - Credit: Archant

It has charmed generations of children – as well as quite a few adults.Now, as the 2ft narrow gauge Nursery Railway clocks up a half century of service at Bressingham Steam and Gardens, a weekend of celebrations is being planned to mark the milestone.

The line was opened in 1966 and has been a mainstay of the attraction ever since.

To mark its 50th anniversary, a special Heritage Steam Gala will be held, with all the museum's steam collection in operation.

They will also be joined by a number of other road and rail steam engines. These include locomotives Rishra and Chaloner from the Leighton Buzzard Railway and several engines from the Charles Burrell Museum in Thetford, including the much-loved Queen Mary.

Bressingham's own engine George Sholto, which opened the line in 1966, will be in use for the celebratory weekend.

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Tim Bridge, from the Bressingham Steam Society and volunteer driver on the Nursery Railway, said: 'The steam museum and gardens combine to make a unique attraction – it will be a real celebration to have the visiting engines here for the weekend.

'I first visited Bressingham during a family holiday to Norfolk one summer in the 1960s, probably just after the nursery line had opened. I vividly recall watching the tank engine George Sholto puffing past the steam gallopers. On that day I caught the steam bug but would not have expected to find myself, half a century later, driving that same engine.'

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All Bressingham's narrow gauge and miniature railways will be operating a steam service on the celebration days and a proportion of the proceeds from the event will go towards the development of a locomotive shed and museum building.

The anniversary event will take place from Saturday, April 30 to Monday, May 2.

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